NatalieSouthwestern is pleased to announce that Natalie DeCesare ’19 was recently named a 2018 Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact. Director of Community-Engaged Learning, Sarah Brackman, presented Natalie the award at the Southwestern Student Leadership Banquet on Wednesday evening, April 18.

The Newman Civic Fellowship “recognizes and supports community-committed students who have demonstrated an investment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country.” Campus Compact is a national coalition of over 1,000 colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education. The Newman Civic Fellowship was created to honor Dr. Frank Newman, one of Campus Compact’s founders. Dr. Newman was a tireless advocate for the role of higher education in preparing students for democratic participation.

Natalie DeCesare, who is Southwestern’s first Newman Civic Fellow, was nominated by Southwestern University President Edward Burger. “I have been impressed with Ms. DeCesare’s passion for promoting social change, as well as her ability to inspire others in this process. She has already demonstrated her ability to coordinate creative strategies that foster collective action,” President Burger stated. “She is an exceptionally well-rounded student and is highly motivated to better the world through her work.”

Natalie, a political science major, is involved in numerous volunteer organizations on campus and in the community. She initiated youth programs with the Georgetown Public Library and collaborated with another student to reinstate the College Republicans organization. She is the Assistant Campaign Manager for United States Congressional candidate Mike Sweeney.

In all of her civic engagement, Natalie seeks out collaboration, collective impact, active engagement, and non-partisan dialogue. As Southwestern’s Texas Civic Ambassador, a leadership training program coordinated by the University of Texas’ Annette Strauss Institute,  she initiated Southwestern’s first Democracy Plaza, an event which encouraged students to reflect on big civic questions such as “who has responsibility to you” and “who is one person who represents you in some capacity?” This event brought together different perspectives across campus to bridge divides and promote discussion.

The Newman Civic Fellowship provides training and resources that nurture students’ assets and passions to help them develop strategies to achieve social change. Fellows develop skills needed to to serve as effective agents of change in addressing public problems and building equitable communities. Natalie will have access to in-person and virtual learning opportunities, networking events, and mentoring throughout the one-year fellowship. Dr. Emily Syndor, Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science, will be Natalie’s on campus Fellowship Mentor.  

Campus Compact President Andrew J. Seligsohn stated, “We are pleased to acknowledge such an inspiring student in this group of emerging public problem solvers.”

Brackman agrees. “Natalie is an incredibly talented and inspiring student. We look forward to watching her develop her skills and continue to positively impact our campus and the greater community.”
For additional information on the Newman Civic Fellowship or Campus Compact, visit their website or contact Sarah Brackman at